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Reluctantly Witnessing Common Sense's Death : All Children Deserve a Chance to Flourish

November 13, 1996

Re "A World of Hurt Even a Mother Can't Soothe" (Nov. 6) by Meri Nana-Ama Danquah about the feelings of her 5-year-old daughter touched me deeply. No child should be made to feel that she cannot be something because of her color.

Please tell Korama that angels are associated with white because that is the color they wear--but that the angels themselves come in all colors. The same can be said for the devil. He lives in a black place, but he too comes in all colors.

I hope this will make her feel better. As a grandmother to a 5-year-old, I am concerned that all children will have the opportunity to flourish and grow in self-esteem and confidence and be given the strength to pay no attention to the irrational comments of the ignorant and bigoted.


Los Angeles


Meri Nana-Ama Danquah's article brought to mind a time I was invited to a birthday party when I was 9. The hands on the clock couldn't spin around fast enough for time to pass before I would arrive with my gift and join in on the fun. I had butterflies in my stomach.

To my dismay, when I rang the bell my friend's mother answered the door. "Oh," she said, as she took the gift from my hands. "You'll have to stay on the porch. We'll bring you some cake and ice cream."

After eating my cake and ice cream and smiling at my friends inside, I waited until the party was over so that I could ask my hostess why I wasn't invited inside. "It's because you're Italian, and my mother said that Italians are dirty and carry disease."

Of course, I knew that not to be true. We had a spotless home and our windows always sparkled. Our sheets hung out on the line in pure splendor and our yard was manicured and filled with well-tended flowers. How could she say that?

I never told my family. It would have pained them. The next day, my friends and I played and it was never mentioned. We all learned to forgive.



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